Promotion at last

Date published: Tuesday, September 22, 2015
WELL, the job is done. Scott, ‘Spanner’ and the boys got what they deserved with a 31-20 win against Keighley Cougars in the ‘Promotion Final’ at Whitebank and now we can look forward to a 2016 season in the Championship after nine years in the third tier.

On a historic day for Chris and the club, a ground-record crowd of 1,405 saw the RFL chairman Brian Barwick present the Kingstone Press League One championship trophy to Lewis Palfrey, just eight days after our club captain lifted the League Leaders Shield down in Oxford on completion of our 22-match league programme, 19 of them ending in wins.

That’s two pieces of silverware in our safe keeping after our most successful season since Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd was formed.

The players also received commemorative medals before doing a lap of honour and then treating fans to a rendering of their victory chant, led by Sammy Gee, which was adapted from a similar song used by Penrith Panthers in Australia.

RFL chairman Brian Barwick, who had travelled from London specially for the occasion, said he knew how much Oldham’s win meant to the club’s owner Chris Hamilton and added: “I’m delighted to be here. This was a fantastic advertisement for the game. There was a wonderful atmosphere and it was a great game — a credit to all concerned.

“After all the disappointments Oldham have had in recent years it was important for them to get through and they did it in style.”

Chris said: “It’s been a long time coming, but this group of players have been absolutely magnificent this season. Our 14-game winning streak started in mid-season after we had lost three games out of four. We were written off and told we couldn’t hack it against the stronger teams, but we’ve shown what we are made of and we’ve won two trophies as well as promotion — not a bad season’s work for a team that was being written off.

“Our season took off after our win at Swinton. That gave us a lot of confidence. We matured as a group and we are now getting the benefits of stability.

“Before today’s game I had lots of texts and good wishes from other clubs and from players who used to play for us. That says a lot about this club. We have been ‘Nearly Men’ too long.

“We are not arrogant or cocky, but we go about our job in a quiet way and we show opponents every respect.. We do things the right way. The RFL have had some very nice things to say about our club today, and that is much appreciated. We are a dream club for the RFL.

“As for attracting and signing players we always promise them three things — they’ll enjoy their time here; they’ll improve as a player; they’ll get paid on time.”

For the record we became champions against the Cougars with tries by Jon Ford, Adam Neal, Danny Langtree, George Tyson and Adam Clay plus five goals and a drop goal by Lewis Palfrey.

We led 18-6 at half-time and although Cougars scored three second-half tries to our two they never got closer than seven points and until the last play of the game when Andy Gabriel scored in the corner they trailed 31-16.

Oldham: Lepori; Clay, Tyson, Ford, Holmes; Palfrey, Roper; P Joy, Owen, Neal, Crowley, Langtree, Hope. Subs: Thompson, Files, Hughes, Ward.

Keighley: Guzdek; Gabriel, Lawton, Sheriffe, White; Mitchell, Handforth; Law, D March, Dickinson, Pursglove, Rawlins, Lindsay. Subs: P March, Bailey, Lynam, Tahraoui.

Referee: M Woodhead; Att: 1,405 (ground record).